Thomas Merton & Sufism—Gray Henry Lecture

Virginia Gray Henry
Monday 17 July, 7:30–9pm
Venue: The Essex Unitarian Church
112 Palace Gardens Terrace
London W8 4RT

Thomas Merton was a 20th century spiritual seeker, a monk who became known throughout the world for his spiritual writings. At one point in his life he was graced with an epiphany. The term he used to describe an aspect of this experience was ‘le point vierge’ (literally ‘the virgin point’) which he took from Louis Massignon, the Catholic scholar of Islam, with whom he corresponded. Merton defined ‘le point vierge’ as ‘the point at which I can meet God in a real and experimental contact’. Merton had been very drawn to Martin Lings’ book on Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi, A Muslim Saint of the 20th Century, and invited a Shaykh from the Mostaganem Zawiyya to visit his own Trappist monastery in Kentucky. During the two years before his death in 1968, Merton’s weekly lectures to the monastery novices were focused on Sufism. This lecture will explore the influence of Sufism on Merton’s thought.

Virginia Gray Henry is Director of the Kentucky-based publisher Fons Vitae and Co-Director of the Ghazali Children’s Project, a world-wide educational initiative inspired by the work of Thomas Merton and his interest in Sufism and the inner-life.

Admission: £8 or £5 Members of the Temenos Academy/Concessions
Full-time students with student ID card FREE
This event is organised in association with the Temenos Academy